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Sen. Warren launches probe into abortion bans' impact on women's healthcare

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Wednesday that she has launched an investigation into the effects state-level abortion bans are having on women's access to healthcare. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/70f990e1edf6b1ae98b94a04183763ff/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Wednesday that she has launched an investigation into the effects state-level abortion bans are having on women's access to healthcare. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren has opened an investigation into the effects state-level abortion bans are having on women's access to healthcare in response to reports that the restrictions are negatively affecting women who are seeking medical attention for various reasons.

The Massachusetts Democrat who sits on the Senate finance subcommittee on healthcare said in a statement announcing the launch of the investigation on Wednesday that she has sent letters to five leading medical organizations asking them for information on how the state-imposed restrictions on abortion care are affecting patients and medical professionals.

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The five organizations are the American Medical Association, Physicians for Reproductive Health, National Nurses United, the American Pharmacists Association and the American Hospital Association.

The investigation was launched amid reports that women have been either denied medical attention or are having their health negatively impacted by abortion bans enforced in Republican-led states after the conservative-leaning Supreme Court late June overturned the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling that legalized access to abortion nationwide.

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Among the reports cited by Warren include one concerning a Wisconsin woman who bled for more than 10 days due to an incomplete miscarriage.

The report from The Washington Post states emergency room staff didn't want to remove fetal tissue from the unnamed woman out of fear that providing such care would violate new state-level abortion ban laws.

Another report cited by Warren concerns a Texas woman who was denied medical care after her water broke in the 18th week of her pregnancy.

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The NPR story about Elizabeth Weller states her health was put at risk as she could not receive an abortion in the state because the fetus still had a heartbeat despite the chances of the fetus' survival being almost zero.

A third story cited by Warren concerns doctors stopping to prescribe methotrexate to patients suffering from certain cancers and auto-immune diseases because it can be used in medical abortions, though the Mayo Clinic states it is rarely used in cases of elective unintended pregnancies.

"These initial reports are a harbinger of the threats faced by millions of women under state-imposed abortion bans and by their providers who took an oath to 'do no harm,'" Warren wrote in her letters to the medical organizations. "And as more states restrict abortion access, they will only multiply."

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Warren has asked the organizations to state how state-imposed restrictions on abortion have affected their patients and how they have affected physicians as well as what guidance do they provide to their members about performing their duties in light of the abortion restrictions.

She has also asked them for advice on what the federal government can do to protect and expand access to pregnancy care, reproductive care and other forms of healthcare in response to the state-imposed abortion restrictions.

Since Roe vs. Wade was overturned at least 10 states have outright banned abortion and four have prohibited the medical procedure after six weeks of pregnancy. Three other states are currently seeking to outlaw abortion and five have their abort bans temporarily blocked by judges amid litigation.\

Abortion-rights advocates march against overturning of Roe vs. Wade

Women attend a candlelight vigil in Washington on June 26, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, ending federal abortion protections. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo

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